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HIV-positive man shares the vile abuse he gets on Grindr for disclosing his status – and it’s eye-opening

Josh Milton October 2, 2019
A man living with HIV shared screenshots of a Grindr conversation that, just for being open about his status, resulting in him being blocked. (Leon Neal/Getty Images/Twitter)

A man living with HIV shared screenshots of a Grindr conversation that, just for being open about his status, resulting in him being blocked. (Leon Neal/Getty Images/Twitter)

A UK man living with HIV has shared some of the vicious discrimination he faced from a guy on Grindr, and Twitter came together to support him.

Tim, of Leicester, is a 29-year-old trading manager based in Coventry. His status is proudly listed on his Twitter bio and often discusses topics relating to HIV and the community.

In screenshots Tim saved before being blocked, an anonymous Grindr user interrogated him – asking how he acquired HIV – before branding Tim an “arrogant c***” after he calmly outlined where the user could educate themselves on HIV.

Man living with HIV opens up about the abuse he faces online. 

It’s a conversation that bluntly began with a blank profile asking Tim just before 9am: “How did you get HIV?”

“Most people diagnosed with HIV in the UK acquire the virus through unprotected vaginal or anal sex,” Tim wrote back.

“How did you get it,” the user further questioned, “from f***ing around or did your boyfriend give it to you?”

Tim responded: “Why does this matter to you?

“Why would you ask such personal questions. Like most people in the UK, I acquired it via sex, who that was from or how that happened has nothing to do with you, especially as a blank profile.

“If you’d like to know more, you can look at the NHS website or search for Terrence Higgins Trust.”

But the Grindr user in blue did not take too kindly to Tim’s words.

“Lmao [laugh my a** off] still an arrogant c*** I see.

“Funny isn’t it how the shallow arrogant pricks end up catching HIV.

“Serves you right,” he added.

Tim added that he replied “Thank you”, to the user. Who then hit back, “You’re welcome, you c***”, and then blocked him.

“That’s just awful,” Twitter collectively says.

After dropping the screenshots of the colourful exchange on Twitter last weekend, it quickly tallied more than 100 replies and an outpouring of support and praise from LGBT+ users.

One user said: “Oh Tim that’s just awful. Nothing gives him the right to speak to you like that, let alone behind the shield of an anonymity.

“He’s obviously got some very serious issues with his life, and is jealous of your confidence and openness to be who you are, and not shy away from it.”

Another added: “The community is filled with ignorance, abusive behaviour, and bigotry… such a shame those things were said to you.

“Let the world know your story – and never be ashamed to talk about your life.”

“This just makes my blood boil. Sorry you had to deal with this,” said a user.

HIV advocate: “I don’t believe that there should be any need to inform partners if there is no risk of passing the virus on.”

Pioneering HIV campaigner and AIDSmap executive director Matthew Hodson told PinkNews that it’s a common reality for people living with HIV to encounter such acidic judgement both on and offline.

“Often there’s an expectation that people living with HIV should inform any potential sexual partners before sex,” he said.

“This is despite the fact that when someone is on effective treatment they can’t pass it on to their sexual partners (often referred to as ‘Undetectable = Untransmittable’).

A bottle of Truvada and PrEP pills
PrEP, sometimes known by the brand name Truvada, can stop new HIV transmissions. (Getty)

“That act of telling someone can be stressful, as there’s still a lot of stigma attached to living with HIV. When someone is cruel or abusive in return, it only makes it harder for people to disclose in future.

“Rejecting sexual partners because they’ve told you that they are living with HIV is not an effective prevention strategy.”

He added: “I don’t believe that there should be any need to inform partners if there is no risk of passing the virus on, just as you wouldn’t expect someone to reveal that they are diabetic – it’s just not relevant.”

Hodson reiterated what countless studies have shown – that one is more likely to acquire HIV from someone who has not been yet diagnosed.

“And so won’t be on the treatment that renders us undetectable,” he said, “than you are from someone who has been diagnosed and is likely to be virally suppressed, and so not a transmission risk.”

What happened to Tim echoed what happened to another man living with HIV in Florida, US, last month.

David, exactly one month on from opening up as living with HIV, tweeted that a Grindr user blocked him after he told the user he was HIV-positive and undetectable.

He tweeted: “Well I was excited to hook up with someone then when I told them I was undetectable they blocked me.

“The kicker is they’re on prep!!! I’m tired.”

More: Grindr, Health, HIV, Twitter

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